On November 23, I developed mild tinnitus. I’ve been hearing a constant sound in my head. The sound is a mid-pitched whistle or whine similar to what you hear through the wall when your neighbor is vacuuming. The principal frequency seems to be about 1.1 kHz. Here’s the closest I could get when trying to generate the sound in my tone generator.
The volume is not high – the sound is overpowered by the refrigerator in my kitchen, the sound of water flowing in the pipes in the bathroom. I can often hear it over my PC (several very quiet fans + quiet 7200 rpm hard drive) or during a conversation in a quiet room when nobody is talking.
As I’ve spent a lot of time reading and thinking about tinnitus, I want to share some tips that helped me get over the initial shock and go back to living normally. Much of the advice in this FAQ is based on what I’ve read about Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT), the leading clinically proven tinnitus treatment.
What causes tinnitus?
Sometimes tinnitus is a side-effect of taking certain drugs, or of another condition, such as earwax buildup, ear infection, hypertension or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.
Most commonly, tinnitus is experienced after exposure to loud noise. The basic mechanism seems to be that noise knocks out some of your hair cells (temporarily or permanently). This shuts off the signal to auditory neurons in your brain, causing them to go haywire. As with most brain-related things, the details of how this happens are poorly understood.
Tinnitus caused by exposure to loud noise usually goes away in a few days. However, it could also become a long-term problem. Long-term tinnitus is associated with hearing loss. Between 60 and 90% (depending on the source) of tinnitus patients have some degree of hearing loss. This is, however, not a true explanation of tinnitus, because the majority of hearing-impaired people don’t have tinnitus, and a significant percentage of tinnitus patients have normal hearing (especially among younger people).
Here’s a good overview of possible tinnitus causes from the American Tinnitus Association.
When will my tinnitus go away?
If you were recently exposed to loud noise (for example, you went to a concert), you may just have temporary tinnitus that will go away in a few days. (By the way, if you have acute noise-induced hearing loss, it may be a good idea to rush to an ENT and ask for immediate steroid therapy to prevent permanent hearing damage.)
In many other cases, tinnitus goes away on its own within 2-3 months. In still others, it takes 2-3 years. On the other hand, there are people who have had tinnitus for over 20 years. Unfortunately, I am not aware of any reliable statistics that would show what percentage of cases resolve within a few months. The best I could find was this informal survey.
What can I do about my tinnitus?
You can go to a doctor in case your tinnitus is due to something that can be fixed or treated easily.
You can try one or more remedies recommended by tinnitus patients – vitamin B12, magnesium, ginkgo biloba, caffeine withdrawal and paracetamol – for each of these, you will find people who swear it reduces their tinnitus. And you can certainly avoid wasting your money on the countless “tinnitus cure” scams ran by unscrupulous assholes all over the Web.
Other than that, there is currently no proven method of rewiring your brain to make tinnitus disappear completely and permanently. There are therapies that can lessen tinnitus or even make it disappear (e.g. notched music therapy), but their effect is temporary, i.e. they must be continued indefinitely if the effect is to be maintained.
However, you can do two very important things:
- You can stop the noise from bothering you.
- You can learn not to notice the noise.
If you achieve these two goals, tinnitus will be no more of a problem for you than the color of the walls in your apartment. It will still be noticeable, if you choose to notice it, but it will not be an issue.
Dr Stephen M. Nagler described this beautifully in his introduction to Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (the page I’m quoting is no longer available online; here’s the closest I could find):
TRT is not a cure for tinnitus. It is a treatment approach designed with the goal of tinnitus ceasing to be an issue in the patient’s life. It is designed with the goal of making tinnitus into a pair of pants. Ninety percent of the time, people are unaware of their pants. The 10% of the time they are aware, they do not “cope” with their pants, they do not “deal” with their pants, they do not “learn to live” with their pants, and they most certainly do not spend any time worrying whether the following day will be a “good pants day” or a “bad pants day.” They simply wear their pants; and when the goal of TRT has been met, tinnitus should be just like that!
How do I stop the noise from bothering me?
The first thing you must realize is that the sound itself is not that much of a problem. Unless your tinnitus is uncommonly severe, the noise in your head probably does not interfere with your hearing in a significant way.
The real problem is that (1) you are paying attention to the noise and (2) you are reacting to it in an emotional way. In neurological terms, the auditory stimulus leads to a stress response. You find the sound disturbing, you can’t think about anything else, your heart is racing, you can’t fall asleep at night – all these problems are not due to tinnitus; they are due to your emotional reaction to tinnitus.
Does it have to be this way? No. You are probably surrounded by many sounds that are objectively louder than your tinnitus, yet you don’t give them a second thought. Every day, you sit in front of a computer that has noisy fans and hard drives, but you don’t obsess over it. While driving, you’re exposed to the sound of traffic and your own car, sometimes for hours, but that does not make you miserable. Airline pilots spend half their lives in the noise of jet engines, but they don’t make a big deal out of it. The only difference between tinnitus and those “everyday sounds” is that you interpret those other sounds as “normal background noise”.
As I sit in front of my computer writing this post, I am surrounded by potentially annoying stimuli. I hear the drone of the washing machine that’s running in the bathroom, the whirr of the hard drives in my computer, and some sounds of traffic outside the window. I am wearing eyeglasses that put constant pressure on my nose and ears; worse still, their rims impose themselves on my field of vision, putting a useless blurry border around whatever I’m looking at. To the right of my screen, there is a network router with bright LEDs blinking at irregular intervals. And whenever I move in my chair, it makes a fairly loud squeak. All of these things can be seen as irritating, yet none of them bothers me in the least bit.
There is no objective reason why I should be completely indifferent to all these stimuli, yet be disturbed by tinnitus. After all, tinnitus is just another sound I can’t do anything about.
Your emotional reaction to tinnitus is a matter of attitude. And attitudes to stimuli can change. I remember very clearly that I used to be annoyed by the ticking of the wall clock in my room, to the point that I had to take it down. Guess what? I recently hung it again and now I kind of like it. To take another example, there are people who are annoyed by the noise made by children playing in the playground. Often, the same people will find it much less annoying (or even pleasant) once they have their own children and begin to associate the sound with something pleasant.
It is helpful to realize that most of your negative attitude to tinnitus comes from the initial shock. If you had been born with tinnitus, would you worry about it? Certainly not. For you, it would be the way the world works – much like the fact that you have to blink every 20 seconds or so. Some people who have had tinnitus since childhood are indifferent to it to the point that they believe it is completely normal.
Finally, here are some positive thinking tricks to “make friends” with your tinnitus:
- think of it as the “dial tone of the universe” (not everyone can hear it, you’re among the chosen ones!)
- think of it as a noise that your brain makes when it’s working (it’s good to know your brain is working, isn’t it?)
- think “my invisible force field is on and is protecting me” (this one was suggested by Thomas Tang in the comments here, I think it’s great)
What is partial masking?
Partial masking is a good technique that can help you stop reacting emotionally to tinnitus. Surround yourself with some sort of noise that blends with the sound of tinnitus without obscuring it completely. Good sources of noise include computer-generated noise, recordings with sounds of nature (rain, ocean, mountain stream, etc.), fans, radio static, air humidifiers, etc. There is a good free online noise generator over at myNoise.net. Remember that if your goal is to reduce your emotional response to tinnitus, the tinnitus should still be partially audible over the masking noise. The reason is that you cannot get used to something you don’t hear. You can then gradually decrease the volume of the masking noise until your tinnitus becomes as boring and unworthy of attention as the buzz of the refrigerator in your kitchen.
Does tinnitus deprive you of silence?
Among tinnitus patients, there is a tendency to think “I will never hear silence again”, but it is worth noting that humans are incapable of hearing complete silence anyway. In a well-known study by Heller and Bergman (1953), out of 100 tinnitus-free university students placed in an anechoic chamber, 93% reported hearing a buzzing, pulsing or whistling sound.
How do I learn not to notice the noise?
At the core of tinnitus is The Loop. The Loop is my own term for the positive feedback loop created by the following two mechanisms:
- The more attention you give to your tinnitus, the louder it gets. (What happens is, you are telling your brain “This sound is important/threatening, I need to hear it more clearly”.)
- The louder your tinnitus is, the more it attracts your attention, which in turn makes it even louder, and so on.
This is a vicious circle that can be extremely hard to break out of. In the first few days after my tinnitus appeared, I gave it so much of my attention that eventually I could hear it even while watching TV.
The loop starts when you focus your attention on the noise. Once you let yourself do that, the noise will get louder, making it much harder to get your mind off it. So Rule Number One is: don’t start The Loop. Whenever you find your attention wandering towards the noise, use your will to immediately focus on something else. Get busy. Slap yourself on the face. If you’re trying to fall asleep, try counting. Remember how miserable you felt the last time you let yourself focus on the noise. Do whatever it takes to take your mind off the tinnitus. If all else fails, mask it with music or some noise. Use the “Reddit maneuver” for short-term relief. But whatever you do, don’t start The Loop.
Learning to take your attention away from tinnitus takes training. One technique that helps with this is having a loud ticking clock in your room. The moment your attention wanders towards the tinnitus, focus on the tick-tock instead. Counting tick-tocks is also a good way to fall asleep.
Tinnitus gets louder when you are anxious about it, so anything that reduces your overall anxiety level is helpful. There are drugs that are known to help, but exercise works great, too. If you make yourself feel so tired that you can barely move, it’s really hard to think about tinnitus – when your body is aching, all you can think of is how good it feels to lie down and rest. I would also recommend experimenting with cold showers or cold baths. In general, anything that causes (safe) pain is good because once the pain is gone, you experience the opposite feeling: bliss, warmth, energy.
Note: an earlier version of this post mentioned Xanax as a possible remedy for tinnitus-related anxiety. However, Xanax (and other benzodiazepines) produce dependence and can be very difficult to quit. If I were to take the medication route, I’d look into other anxiolytic drugs first.
If you haven’t heard your tinnitus for some time, don’t listen for it. Don’t ask yourself: “Do I hear the noise now?” or “Has it really gone away or is it just temporarily masked by ambient noise?”. In the first weeks after I got tinnitus, whenever it stopped being noticeable, I would go to a quiet room and put on my isolating headphones to see if it really went away. I did this many times a day and all it did was make me notice my tinnitus again. In the end, I had to set a rule: I am allowed one “tinnitus test” per day, when I get up in the morning. For the rest of the day, no checking.
Remember: If you listen for tinnitus, you are just training your brain to hear it better. Don’t do it. Focus on other things in your surroundings and your life.
What if I’m already in The Loop?
Ah, yes. When you’re in The Loop, your tinnitus seems so loud that it’s like a tiger in your room – it seems damn near impossible not to pay attention to it. In addition, the stress you are probably experiencing does not make it any easier to exercise mental control.
Still, you have to help yourself. You have to get out of The Loop somehow. Here’s a method that worked for me: Mask the hell out of it and go to sleep. When you wake up the next morning, use every ounce of self-control you have to focus your attention on things other than the tinnitus. Keep telling yourself: if I let myself focus on it, it will just get bigger and even harder to ignore. Whenever your thoughts start wandering toward the tinnitus, slap yourself on the face or pinch the back of your forearm (this serves as negative reinforcement). The goal is to develop a mental habit to distract yourself every time you start thinking about your tinnitus. As time passes, it will get easier and easier to distract yourself when tinnitus becomes noticeable.
It can be hard to keep this up for the whole day, especially in the beginning, so use masking liberally. (Full masking is not recommended in Tinnitus Retraining Therapy because it removes the noise completely rather than letting you get comfortable with it, but my experience is that when you’re going crazy from listening to your tinnitus, masking it partially doesn’t make you any calmer. There are times when you need emergency measures.)
When you cannot help but pay attention to your tinnitus and it’s beginning to stress you out, you can try the following mental technique that I’ve found very effective. I call it the Refrigerator Trick. The trick is to imagine that the sound of tinnitus is made by an actual device in the room, perhaps a small refrigerator. It’s amazing that simply having that thought brings about instant stress relief. As soon as the sound is associated with an everyday object, it seems the brain no longer has any reason for alarm. Once the tinnitus is classified as an “everyday noise”, it is much easier to take your mind off it. To make this visualization more convincing, you can picture what the refrigerator looks like, where it’s standing, etc.
Useful resources on tinnitus
- Dr. Nagler’s Tinnitus Site – a very well-written site with tinnitus information and support, by Dr Stephen Nagler, who is a tinnitus patient himself. His advice is based on Pawel Jastreboff’s Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) model. Make sure to check out the Articles section.
- Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) page by Pawel Jastreboff. TRT “uses a combination of low level, broad-band noise and counseling to achieve the habituation of tinnitus, that is the patient is no longer aware of their tinnitus, except when they focus their attention on it, and even then tinnitus is not annoying or bothersome”.
- Tinnitus Support Message Board – the largest and best forum for tinnitus patients
- Tinnitus success stories from real people
- myNoise.net – a free online noise generator
- Plasticity – I made a free brain training game that may change your perception of tinnitus – see below
Update (Sep 2011)
I still have tinnitus, but have become indifferent to it to a degree I would never have thought possible. Basically, now it’s like the sound of the hard drive in my laptop. Sure, I notice it sometimes, but I don’t focus on it; I just go back to whatever I was doing. I’m certainly not sitting there writing an e-mail on my laptop and thinking “OMG, here’s the damn hard drive noise again, why won’t it stop?”. Needless to say, I don’t check the intensity of my tinnitus every day anymore. In fact, I’ve gone weeks without noticing it.
I used to be scared of going to sleep without masking sounds, as the silence at night brings the tinnitus out. Now it’s no big deal: I don’t pay attention to it, and on the rare occasion that I do, it doesn’t bother me; it’s just “that familiar sound” to me.
Update – Plasticity (Aug 2012)
In April 2011, I wrote an HTML5 game called Plasticity with the objective of rewiring my auditory cortex and thus reducing my tinnitus. The idea was simple:
- Some neurons are firing in my auditory cortex (since I hear the tinnitus).
- The cortex can reorganize in response to training.
- Conclusion: I’m going to train my auditory cortex and see how that changes the perception of tinnitus.
Did it work? It’s hard to say. I was of course hoping for a dramatic, unmistakable result – a total cure. That didn’t happen. I thought I noticed some improvement in the course of my training, but that could have easily been simple placebo effect. After a month of using Plasticity every day, I went on a short foreign trip. During that trip, I noticed that I was able to fall asleep without masking noise for the first time since I got tinnitus. When I got back home, I decided to stop using masking at home as well. I also stopped using Plasticity. In the following months, my tinnitus gradually became a non-issue for me. I would still hear it, but only if I tried to. It would no longer hijack my whole brain. Since the auditory training was effective (I did get better at recognizing sounds, as evidenced by better scores), I think it’s possible that the training somehow changed my brain’s neurological response to tinnitus. I wouldn’t bet money on it, though.
Anyway, I have now made Plasticity available to everyone on the Web, so you are free to try it if you wish. (Here’s some more information on the scientific justification and tips on how to use Plasticity.) It’s totally unproven, but, unlike the countless fake cures on the Internet, it’s also totally free (though I’d be really grateful for your donations if you can afford to spare some money).
Update – (Sep 2013)
Well, OK. The bad news is that my tinnitus got worse. The good news is that it didn’t really upset me. It only bothered me a bit for 2-3 days, then I quickly forgot about it.
How did it get worse? Well, there was a loud concert that I went to with a friend. My friend wanted to get closer to the stage, and, like an idiot, I followed her, even though the music was already uncomfortably loud where I was standing. In other words, there was a red light but I ignored it. Needless to say, I won’t be attending any loud concerts anytime soon. Which is fine with me, I’m more of a home listener anyway.
The concert left me with a threshold shift (reduced hearing) and a whistling sound in my left ear that persisted for about 3 days. My hearing came back to normal (for a while I was worried that it would stay that way), but the whistling never went away. It is much louder than the tinnitus I have in my right ear.
Now I am 90% sure that my original tinnitus was caused by noise as well (another super-loud concert). So here’s a public service announcement: If you have tinnitus, avoid loud noises, such as concerts in enclosed spaces like clubs.
How did I get over it? Same as before, only 100 times faster. (I’m getting good at this!) I used a bit of masking, Plasticity, plus exercise to relax, but mostly it was just the familiar “don’t let yourself think about it” technique. Initially, I felt pretty bad – mainly because I hated myself for making such a stupid mistake and because I was afraid my hearing would be permanently impaired. After a couple days, though, I started paying less and less attention to it, and now I don’t think about it as an issue anymore. Actually, I am quite proud of how quickly I stopped caring about it.
Good luck! Remember to post your comments here.
Amar Takhar Nov 14, 2015 at 3:48 pm
Try this people
Hope it helps!
It’s a sternocleimastoid massage
Here’s the video link
Amar Takhar Nov 14, 2015 at 3:56 pm
Also check out this site
I found it helpful
Tomasz Nov 16, 2015 at 7:57 am
Note that the author of the post assumes that his tinnitus is caused by Eustachian tube dysfunction which (according to my 5-minute research) may cause humming, buzzing, roaring, but not pure-tone tinnitus. It should also cause fullness in the ears or muffled hearing. Another symptom should be that if you change your altitude (e.g. going up in an elevator), it should be impossible to relieve the pressure in your inner ears by swallowing. If you don’t have these symptoms, you probably don’t have Eustachian tube problems. Go to an ENT if you want to be sure.
In general, I think everyone should be wary of popping supplements based on a wild guess posted by some guy on the Internet.
symondrake Nov 23, 2015 at 9:40 am
Thanks so much for the article. I’ve had minor tinnitus in my left ear for a year now and in the last week it has started as a higher pitch in my right ear. Your article is the most encouraging lve read. Thank you!
Marc Nov 28, 2015 at 8:49 pm
8 Weeks into tinnitus. Finding that many of the things you posted here are working for me also. Deep breathing exercises to calm the physiological responses helps. A combination of partial masking and full masking get me through the day which is much easier now that it was 8 weeks ago. Sleep is still a challenge as I wake up after every sleep cycle but I am back up to getting 3-6 hours of sleep WITHOUT SLEEPING TABLETS. After being on them for a month, I consider this a great achievement.
Thanks for your honesty and insight.
Thomas Tang Jan 1, 2016 at 1:54 am
Thanks for taking time out of your day to set
up this blog.
I found it very helpful.
I got rid of my Tinnitus in only 8 weeks.
I hate to say it but no more live Football games. It was killing my ears.
Goodbye S.D.C. Games.
One other thing I would like to say, the noise only sucks bad, if you let it get to you.
Like most Americans I’m big into Superhero movies.
Every time I heard the buzz in my head I told myself,
My invisible force field was on and fully protecting me. After that I kinda liked it.
Like most things in life, you can’t do anything about the hand your dealt, but you can do
A lot about how you play your hand.
Tomasz Jan 4, 2016 at 8:44 pm
“Invisible force field” I like it. I’m gonna steal that!
Neill Z Feb 23, 2017 at 4:03 am
Great approach, Thomas and Tomasz! Hook something positive to it! You’ve inspired me to make my tinnitus into a “smile reminder”!
Alternatively (or additionally), as people will often notice tinnitus most at night, alone, when they’re not busy, it might be useful to hook onto it a reminder for positive reflection: on hearing it, treat it as a reminder to recap a few things you’re grateful for (e.g. having food). Or just tie a good memory to it, or the last funny joke you heard.
(Smiling to yourself like a loon may well be beneficial, points out Richard Wiseman in “59 seconds”)
Steve Jan 13, 2016 at 4:20 am
Here’s a recent and inspiring interview with Denis W. who found relief from chronic Tinnitus using mindfulness and Stoicism. Hope you find it valuable on your own journey –> http://tinnitussuccess.com/stoicism-mindfulness
Tomasz Jan 15, 2016 at 8:22 pm
Thanks, I added the site to my list of resources. It’s always good to read reports from people who got over tinnitus.
Christina Jan 22, 2016 at 10:46 pm
Going on 3 weeks now with cricket like/buzzing in my ears/head. I have been really depressed about this, losing weight, not able to focus. I am married and have 3 young sons. It has been the roughest thing I’ve had to deal with. All the articles I’ve read online gave me no hope what-so-ever but this one has given me a little bit of hope. I haven’t slept in days and I just want to be back to normal. Going to see and ENT in a week and hoping they can figure out what is causing this. Thank you for being positive and giving some tips on how to deal with this. I’m glad I’m not the only one out there.
God Bless, Christina
ganchca Jan 26, 2016 at 12:38 am
Christina – i got T just about 2 years ago, and like you, i got terribly depressed, became a complete insomniac, and basically went nuts (i’m also a dad and a school volunteer and an otherwise normal guy:). I sought out the best medical help Northwestern could provide, talked to dozens of people, and generally freaked out. the one thing i started to hear (and ignore) repeatedly was “your brain figures it out and starts ignoring it. relax”. two years on, i regret all of the worry and stress i dumped on myself and my family. you WILL go back to normal and like me and others i’ve talked to, you’ll hear your T when you think about it, which is less and less and less over time. i know that it’s hard to believe, from where you are now, but it’s the truth. treat it like a flu – it sucks for now, but it WILL subside and you’ll get everything back. hang in, enjoy your kids, give your T the attention it deserves, which is none at all. you’re going to be fine!:)
Joe Wilson Apr 14, 2016 at 5:58 am
This is exactly my symptoms, cricket sounds which in my case may be caused by loud noise from running powered equipment. Chainsaws may have caused mine but other things like vacuum cleaners would be loud enough to create this problem. I didn’t lose much sleep because I actually thought there were crickets! It took me weeks before I realized the crickets didn’t exist. Hang in there, it may get better on it’s own but I try to use ear phones when I use the saws now. Joe
Jacklyn Jan 26, 2016 at 2:52 am
Reading these has really helped my boyfriend. Please keep sharing!!!
Jacklyn Jan 26, 2016 at 2:53 am
Forgot to check the email update button!
Steve Jan 26, 2016 at 3:04 am
Here’s a recent and inspiring interview with Robin who learned to live happily with Tinnitus. Hope you find it valuable on your own journey –> http://tinnitussuccess.com/robin-story/
Carl H. Jan 31, 2016 at 12:15 am
Thank you for posting this information. When this first happened to me everything in here about fixating on my “T” was what I did! Staying out of “the loop” is working for me and I even have periods of complete silence at times. When it’s not silent it’s hardly noticeable.
Carl H. Jan 31, 2016 at 12:18 am
Sorry for the 2nd post. It’s ALWAYS a good idea to start with and audiologist hearing test and ENT visit. Even though they may not be able to medically improve your “T” knowing that you are medically OK and whether or not you have hearing loss helps reduce anxiety!!!! In my case the told me my hearing is almost perfect so now don’t worry about plugging my ears before every loud noise I may encounter.
Dimitar Mar 29, 2016 at 8:31 am
Your post is what gave me hope that I can handle the problem. The truth is that almost two months I have experienced T and this affects everyday my life. I went through all the steps of doctors and tests and everything seems to be okay, but I have “ T”. In addition to noise in both ears i hear also pop in them.
I had exercise (move my car cuz was stuck in the snow) and the next day appeared pain in the neck and slight noise. Noise in my ears strengthen and my physiotherapist finds that maybe I stretched muscle or torn muscle fibers. I have no idea whether the noise is associated with it or not.
The way you think gave me hope that I can deal with the problem and that over time will become just like any other noise, that you just have to learn to ignore it.
I wanted to ask some more specific questions and will be glad if you have time to answer me.
1. How are you after five years with this T, there you have it yet and how to interfere with your everyday life?
2. Did you deal with sleep and how? Were you able to sleep without masking sounds?
3. Did you hear your T every day? Because if you are out and it is noisy is ok, but when you came to home and lie down to your bed and it is quiet I think it is impossible not to hear it.
4. How does it change your lifestyle?
5. Is it true that over time becomes better and you learn to control it (ask this because at the moment it seems very difficult for me)
I’m absolutely inspired from your blog, and will continue to fight my T. I know that is a matter of time just to habitate this intruder in my life.
p.s: sry for my bad English 😉
Tomasz Mar 30, 2016 at 12:35 pm
I hardly ever notice it — maybe once in a month. I sleep without masking sounds. I used masking only in the first few months. The biggest effect on my lifestyle is that I’m paranoid about loud noises. I don’t go to concerts (if I went, I would use earplugs), clubs. I use isolating headphones when using power drills, etc.
It does get better with time.
In your case, tinnitus appears to be of orthopedic origin. It could be some kind of joint disorder. For example, TMJ disorders can cause tinnitus. So it could be totally curable with some physiotherapy. If I were you, I’d look for more information online, maybe consult some specialists etc.
Hope that answers all your questions. Good luck!
Josh brown Mar 31, 2016 at 10:56 am
I just wanted to say the biggest thank you to you!! I make music for a living so really should have always worn ear plugs to every gig. Bieber didn’t on this time and come home with a ringing, 4 days later and it’s still there. I’ve been to the docs and getting an ear test, making sure there’s no actual damage but regardless of all that I’ve been googling trying to get info and the forums/blogs are either hopeful in a sense that is not informative or just stories with unique situations or they are negative, with sub stories of all The wrong things one should me be reading when trying to gain info and deal with the onset of tinnitus… Yet your blog was realistic, informative and everything was presented with a sense of hope even if the T does go, the management techniques, suggestions and like I said just all round realistic and honest way in which all the info you had learnt yourself was passed on !!
I feel 100 times better, the ringing remains but I think with some heathy living and possibly your plasticy and me just eventually forgetting about it, it may go naturally!! At the very least I feel so much more hopeful after ready your blog even if it’s a matter of just masking and learning to forget it all the time !! I wish you all the best mate and sincerely thank you for time in writing this blog !!
Greg Price Mar 31, 2016 at 1:03 pm
Hey Josh, I woke up on morning with an awful hissing in my ear, after 4 or 5 days went to the Dr. He told me to give it three months, it should go away. Well that was three years ago, and it’s till here. I can tell you that the best way to cope with it is to try and forget about it and go on with your life, I think about it every now and then, and find myself listening to it, I guess just to see if anything has changed. I did this last evening and yes it was hissing and load as ever, I then went on with watching TV and again put it out of my mind. This is how best to deal with it, except that it may be with you forever, and hey if by some chance it goes away, well then that’s great, but if not, don’t let it consume you, if I can do it, anyone can, as my first week with this I had a panic attack, and was trying to make it stop. I hear the hissing as I type this, but it no longer bothers me, and I’m fine with that. Greg
Paul Hughes Apr 12, 2016 at 9:47 pm
Hello there. I’m sorry to read so many terrible stories regarding tinnitus. I work to help people habituate to tinnitus in the south of the UK.
Perhaps these tips will add something to this post of yours.
Tomasz Apr 15, 2016 at 9:02 am
Well, I don’t really allow adverts here, but your overview makes a lot of sense. I agree about keeping busy. My biggest tinnitus improvements came when I was abroad or having an active social life. You’ve got to make your brain forget about the noise.
Kate Apr 15, 2016 at 9:56 am
You are absolutely right…keep thinking this noise is normal. if you hear it, say to yourself…so what and focus on something more interesting. This way you’ll pay less attention to this noise. As statistics have it, put a 100 people in a silent room and more than 50% with normal hearing will start hearing the tinnitus noise. This proves..if we keep paying attention, you’ll hear the noise. Less is more.
Kate Apr 13, 2016 at 10:12 am
Hope on the Horizon!! A couple of weeks ago a potential treatment for tinnitus, RL-81, made headlines. Read more on this via facebook:
Shirley May 30, 2016 at 2:42 pm
Wow this blog realy gave me hope.I’ve had my T for 2months now after my GP gave me BP medication and after 2weeks I woke up with this ringing in my head.I was very depressed even got an anxiety attack.I still have it but I stopped taking the BP medication but my T is still there but a little softer .I’m really praying for this noise to go away as it seems to be taking control of my life.
Carl Hohenstein May 30, 2016 at 3:48 pm
I’m 5 months into mine and at the point where it bothers me very little. I started out tracking it each day and trying to find out whether going to the gym, flying, doing certain things etc. helped or hurt but I ended up stopping all the tracking because it was just making me notice it more. I had the same anxiety’s you’re having and all I can tell you is Thomaz is right on with what he’s telling us. I’m as impatient as anyone and this WILL take time but you will stop noticing it once your brain recognizes it’s not a threat! Hang in there!
Morgan Jun 5, 2016 at 7:23 pm
I came across this blog as a result of searching out online wave generators and I’m very glad I did.
I suffer from tinnitus as a result of a gunshot (30.06 hunting rifle) going off close to my head, then a decade-plus of thrashing away behind a drum kit onstage. That was decades years ago and I’ve had it ever since. Damaged my hearing too.
I had hoped beyond hope that maybe there would be some treatment available that would actually reduce, or remove, the constant shrieking. But it seems the treatments consist of, “Get used to it” or “Don’t let it bother you” or masking it with external sounds.
Not a very satisfactory treatment regime, but if that’s the best we can do at this point, well, that’s the best we can do.
Thanks for posting.
Kate Jun 5, 2016 at 9:41 pm
Morgan, all tinnitus sufferers live in hope that one day there will be a cure. Like you my tinnitus is progressively getting worse, but I continue to smile and make the best of each day. Have a good day
tuzticzka Jul 6, 2016 at 4:01 pm
Hi Tomasz (I mean author of this article), I really appreciate tips that you shared here, because tinnitus it’s my case as well :-/ Can I get your agreement to let me translate this article into Czech language and post it on my website? Of course with full credits and link to this original. Automated google translations aren’t still so comfortable as Czech people would like to have.
Thank you, Martin (tuzticzka[at]gmail[dot]com)
Tomasz Jul 6, 2016 at 4:28 pm
Absolutely. Could you please send me the URL when you’re done?
tuzticzka Jul 7, 2016 at 10:31 am
Sure, I’ll leave the link here as another comment afterwards. Thanks
Pat W Aug 24, 2016 at 1:11 am
Wonderful site, full of great and useful information
When we go deaf it is often because the hearing receptors are damaged and become disconnected from the nerve pathway. Without stimulation some of the nerves start firing without hearing receptor stimulation. The sound produced is heard by the brain and enters our consciousness as various sounds. Mine is a very high pitched electronic sort of noise, like the sound the first TV sets used to make when the warmed up. Last week a hum added to it, so now I have two sounds.
Victor Sep 5, 2016 at 12:22 pm
Hi, I suddenly develope ringing in my ears about 3 weeks ago and I have never been so unhappy in my life. it started on one faithful day were I had headache and then the headache change to pain in my right ear which my left ear also adopted and after that I was hearing my heart beat and ringing in my ears at the same time. I decided to check what it was on internet and everything I could come about was pretty bad news, I also tried to check about the heart beat hearing and fortunate me got into a blog where people say they could cure their own pulsating tinnitus with magnesium ( wow) I didn’t give that a second thought, after 4 days of taking magnesium the pulsating tinnitus disappear completely without any trace And the pain is also gone 2 days after the the strange incident. after all this, suddenly the tinnitus volume increase like crazy which gave me 5 sleepless night and the the volume reduces to which I can cope with. the pulsating is gone and so is the pain but the ringing won’t just go away. but after reading this blog I know how to tackle this intruder in my life. thanks your post really help me.
Victor Sep 7, 2016 at 8:21 pm
right now my tinnitus, I just can’t say it there or gone completely. but I pray it goes away completely. just want you guys to know, and could you guys pls update us on how your tinnitus progress.
AK70 Sep 16, 2016 at 6:03 am
Thanks for your insightful blog. I’m suffering from tinnitus for over 15 years and have learnt to ignore it for 5 years now.
I’ve got a concern, I’m planning to move on 30th floor of a condo in the city where I work. Will it cause more damage to my existing condition due to high ear pressure living in such height?
Tomasz P. Szynalski Sep 16, 2016 at 8:21 pm
Air pressure goes down (not up) as you go up. If you go up 100 meters (about 30 floors), it only decreases by about 1%. Day-to-day variation is bigger than that. Furthermore, tinnitus is in the brain, so it shouldn’t matter what the air pressure is.
To be on the safe side, maybe you could go to the 30th floor and see if the tinnitus gets worse?
AK70 Sep 17, 2016 at 4:06 pm
Thanks for your response.
Rolex Sep 17, 2016 at 1:35 pm
Hi! Just a new guy from the Philippines. I got my timnitus in my left ear from a bad case of otitis media, and is now in my second month, or so I thought. Had major depression for 2 weeeks, neglected my health and hygiene, thankfully recovered after a series of meditation and soul searching. I still had high hopes that it would completely disappear, as what my ENT doctor had promised me, I really hope it will, I mean my faith is slowly diminishing. It’s good to feel I’m not all alone, however. I wish you all the best here.
Tasman Oct 11, 2016 at 6:53 pm
This is indeed a very supportive blog.
I have had tinnitus now for about 6 – 7 months & it is pretty constant. I think it was caused by stress, mix of personal & work, but who knows. Generally I mask the sound at work using a fan, I am an accountant so dead quite in my own office (although winter is coming & I live in Scotland so need a new masking noise rather than fan??). I try to go to bed late & tired. But if I wake up it is there, but I try think about stuff (deeply dissecting something in my mind) to try fall back to sleep.
Went privately to an ENT specialist, my hearing was OK & he recommended a sound ball, 35 minutes cost over£300…..
I am focused on not letting it ruin my life, my wife & two kids mean that it not an option.
I am an absolute believer in what this site promotes in that the best way is to try be positive.
One upside….I tried to learn to play the bagpipes many years ago, I recently picked up my practice chanter & started learning the scale again & played a few tunes, wow did that take my mind off tinnitus, I forgot how hard it was to learn to play! I think I will leave my full set of bagpipes up the loft………probably not a good idea for tinnitus, I will be happy if I can play a few gentle laments on the chanter…..maybe worth a try.
Mark Tansley Oct 18, 2016 at 7:43 am
First time I noticed tinnitus was in the morning and when going to sleep. It quickly became louder and more consistent, I am 57 and have been living with tinnitus for three years. I describe my noise as medium pitched TV static.
The doctors offered no assistance,.I went on a diet although as healthy as a horse maybe 15-20 pounds over weight. The diet included removing all processed foods, white sugar (mainly alcohol, ice-cream) and coffee. This definitely helped the tinnitus to the point that for a few days after the first year the noise left entirely for a few days, that was very liberating. Feeling very in control I started adding back food types ice-cream bits of coffee and processed foods as the tinnitus returned I started dropping the foods that I thought were causing the tinnitus to return. I never did rid myself of tinnitus and it turns out it does not bother me much. I did lose about 10 pounds and I am certainly more active hiking and snowshoeing.
I read another article about a guy who went on the same diet to get rid of tinnitus and he claimed to of succeeded in getting rid of tinnitus as well.
Music (loud) rock and roll with head phones is my thing and I have not given that up. I recently joined a band as the bass player, my hearing is a little weaker than when I was 40 but it works.
I will try the diet again, just because the control is nice to have. I will check back in if the diet works a second time.
fred donald Nov 6, 2016 at 10:17 pm
Two nights ago, I went to a loud rock concert. I was quite close to the speakers, and realized (too late) that I should’ve brought my earplugs. Oh well, I figured, I rarely expose myself to loud noise, I’ll have cottony ears for the rest of the night and then be fine. Nope. I’ve had a quiet ringing in my ears ever since. I don’t notice it except when everything else is quiet (when trying to get to sleep, mainly) or if I concentrate on it. Right now, I’m wondering if it’s safe to say that this is permanent, or if two days is still too early to judge. I looked up some information online – namely the American Tinnitus Association website – but I didn’t find anything about how long temporary tinnitus can take to go away.
Tomasz P. Szynalski Nov 7, 2016 at 12:19 pm
It could take several days to get your full hearing back. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auditory_fatigue
Surround yourself with noise (don’t sit in a quiet room) — there’s some evidence it might help prevent/limit neurological changes after exposure to harmful noise.
Ed Dec 17, 2016 at 5:00 pm
Just found it! Great site! Thanks for all the info.
Also thanks to all the people who gave comments.. many great links which I still have to visit.
My tinnitus is horror: 24/7, two ears, three tones/sounds/sissses per ear, never the same: frequencies changing all the time (per hour,day or week), louder than daily noises.
Unfortunately I also have to deal with “Hyperacusis”. 🙁
Going to experiment with the new information you gave.
Josh Mar 6, 2017 at 4:10 pm
Thanks for this post and the link to the informal survey. I’ve had tinnitus for 3 weeks as of today. Not an easy thing to deal with but we will all make it through and get better. Cheers.
Ian Mar 29, 2017 at 3:52 pm
This article was extremely helpful! I’ve been suffering with Tinnitus for about two years and have tried practically every method possible to calm the ringing in my ears. Thankfully with articles and forums like this, I was able to gain more knowledge on what works and what doesn’t. I started exercising regularly and cut out bad foods from my diet. It helped stabilize my symptoms more but didn’t curb the nauseating ringing. I tried a few medicines for ear ringing but nothing really packed a punch until I started using Lipo-Flavonoid. Has anyone else used it? It’s become a perfect cherry on top to my everyday to-do list. They have some really great products that are worth looking at.
Victoria Apr 3, 2017 at 12:03 am
This is the first article I’ve read that was helpful. In January of this year I caught a terrible cold, sinus, throat..the worst. One morning I woke up with this very excruciating loud whistling in my ear and left side of my head. The Naturopath said it was due to the sinus cold and it will pass. 4 days later the head noise stopped and just the ear was insanely loud. I went for osteopathic treatments and by mid March the noise level dropped from 10 on 10 to .5 on 10. I thought it was almost gone.
A week ago I had a terrible indigestion, I threw up and since then the noise came back in head and ear about 5 to 6 on 10. The thing is once you reach a point where it’s so mild then it starts again louder, it feels just as insanely loud as it was the first day. I’m having a terrible time accepting and dealing with this. I admit I cry a lot.
I’ve taken all kinds of natural and homeopathic products, they helped but no cure.
I’m hoping it will go away, but in meantime I will follow your advice.
It is such a high pitched sound, almost like soprano crickets screaming right now.
Thanks again for your info. It boosted me up.xxx
Elizabeth Jul 27, 2017 at 6:03 am
Sometimes you can decrease this with a decongestant. Try taking some sudafed with decongestant in the morning and seeing if this helps. My allergies can make mine get really loud. However , this is always temporary. Good luck!